16 mars 2008

Auction tracking : mostly paintings, but also some lots to come at Drouot


Lasting four days, ending tomorrow, Christie's New York presents the important works for sale in the spring. It includes a portrait by Cranach the Elder (April 15, 4 M$) (SOLD 7.6 M$ including fees), a beautiful intimate Picasso showing Claude and Paloma busy to drawing (May 6, 7 M$), (SOLD 9 M$ including fees), a Campbell's Soup by Warhol (May 13, 7 M$), (SOLD 7.1 M$ including fees), a Miro entitled la Caresse des Etoiles (May 6, 10 M$), (SOLD 17 M$ including fees), a Theater Loge in Beijing by Yakovlev (April 18, 1.8 M$), (UNSOLD), a silk Isfahan rug (June 3, 1 M$). (SOLD 4.5 M$ including fees).


In the sale of April 4 by Hampel in Munich, there is a painting by Bordone (Lot 414, 110x136 cm, € 300 K) (UNSOLD) and two beautiful frozen landscapes, one by Leickert (Lot 535, 60x83 cm, 75 K €) (SOLD 55 K€ before fees) and the other by Kruseman (Lot 536, 42x56 cm, 120 K €). (SOLD 80 K€ before fees). For Russian art, two important works from a set by Alexandr Grigorevich Tyshler: a woman with flowers (Lot 698, 65x55 cm, 270 K €) (SOLD 150 K€ before fees) and a cavalier (Lot 699, 70x60 cm, 300 K €). (UNSOLD)

A pair of paintings by David arrive on the market in an unusual form: a portrait of the man, a minister, will be sold by Christie's in New York on April 15 ($ 4 million), (SOLD 7.2 M$ including fees), the portrait of his wife is available to the buyer at the price required by the seller. If the buyer does not want it, it is also auctioned (2 M$). (UNSOLD). We are told that this pair was re-established thirteen years ago; the portrait of the man is very probably the one that was sold for 15 MF before fees on October 18, 1995 at Drouot by ministries of Maîtres Rieunier, Bailly-Pommery, Binoche , Oger and Dumont.

The Nasher estate will be dispersed over four sales by Sotheby's New York, with an astonishing 1969 Picasso, the Kiss, at 10 M$ on May 7 (SOLD 17.5 M$ including fees) and the same day the same master, a very colorful 1961-1962 Workshop at 6 M$. (SOLD 6.5 M$ including fees). On May 9, a painted bronze by Lichtenstein (700 K$) (UNSOLD) and a Griffu by Richier (380 K$). (SOLD 325 K$ including fees). Again Picasso, on May 9, with a print inspired by Cranach (275 K$). (SOLD 660 K$ including fees). "Contemporary"Art, May 14, includes a colorful abstraction by Hans Hofmann (2 M$) (SOLD 4.3 M$ including fees) and a large size collage by Dubuffet (1.5 M$). (SOLD 3.6 M$ including fees). The sale of American art on May 22 is conducted by Stuart Davis (500, 400 and 300 K$) (SOLD 2,8 M$, 825 K$ et 825 K$ including fees) and Sheeler (300 and 150 K$). (not confirmed and UNSOLD).

Another word about Picasso, with a pastel circa 1900, 40x30 cm, for sale at Drouot by Rieunier on April 7 (700 K €). The works of Picasso's youth are often frustrating at auction, we will see what will happen to it. (SOLD 510 K€ before fees ; the estimate had been reasonably lowered to 500 K€).

ERRATUM: In my column last week, referring to the estate of a British philanthropist, I gave you the date of sale of the furniture rather than paintings, which will be included in the sale of impressionist and modern art by Christie's London on 24 and 25 June. I rerun this text:
In the estate of an English philanthropist to be dispersed by Christie's in London, there are some French artists including a Signac pointillist painting showing Collioure lighthouse in a bold composition. This one was a milestone in the career of Signac (1.8 million pounds). (SOLD 2.95 M£). Beside it: Matisse (600 K £), (SOLD 1.95 M£), Degas (400 K £), (UNSOLD), Bonnard (500 K £), (SOLD 1.65 M£), Fantin-Latour (600 K £). (SOLD 1.05 M£). (Results include fees).

A bit of French art also in New York, at Christie's on April 8: a portrait of the Countess Greffulhe by Blanche (400 K$), (UNSOLD), a seaport in Brittany by Corot (300 K$), (SOLD 457 K$ including fees), and a street scene in Spain by Jean Georges Vibert, who appears unexpectedly at 150 K$ (SOLD 145 K$ including fees) if we could not recall a scene in the same country that was sold 481 K$ at the same venue on October 24.

Two paintings by Sisley are to come at Drouot, one at Millon (46x56 cm, March 28), (UNSOLD ; estimate was 600 K€), the other at Boisgirard (65x54 cm, 16 April). (SOLD 760 K€ before fees). They are announced in advertisements in La Gazette de l' Hotel Drouot. From the same source, we see some foreign works at Cornette de Saint-Cyr on April 5: Frank Stella (152x457 cm), Penck (200x250 cm), Kiefer (170x190 cm), the fact is rare enough to be noted though this house is one of those in Drouot who know the interest in world art. (UNSOLD, see estimates in next column).

The paintings by Winston Churchill are not uncommon on the market. The price expected by Bonhams and Butterfields in San Francisco on April 23 for a sunset on Mount Atlas is high (20x24 inches, 600 K$), but his works showing Morocco are valued. (SOLD 350 K$ before fees compared with its low estimate of 400 K$ in the catalogue).

Dutch Paintings at Sotheby's in Amsterdam on April 14 include a romantic landscape from royal commission by Barend Cornelis Koekkoek (600 K €, estimation very open with a high value of 1.1 M €). (UNSOLD). There is also, by Isaac Israels at 120 K €, a curious vaudeville scene in impressionist style. (SOLD 175 K€ including fees).

In the sale of Russian art at Bonhams in London on June 9 there is a nice painting by Goncharova representing a sailboat (1.5 million pounds). (SOLD 1.5 M£ before fees).

In the sale organized by Osian's on March 18 in New Delhi, we find Subodh Gupta, (SOLD 8.2 MRs) just having got a great result at Saffronart. Artists like Tyeb Mehta, (SOLD 19.8 MRs), Sayed Haider Raza, (SOLD 10.3 MRs), Francis Newton Souza (who died in 2002), (SOLD 15.6 MRs), Maqbool Fida Husain, (UNSOLD two works estimated 8 and 6.4 MRs), Ganesh Pyne, (SOLD 6.7 MRs), Ram Kumar, (SOLD 10.6 MRs), Jagdish Swaminathan (who died in 1994) (SOLD 20.4 MRs) are the certainty of the generation before, but the artists under fourty are also there. I discussed that in my daily chronicle of Art Encheres Culture on Viadeo.
(SOLD 16,8 MRs a painting showing apes in an armchair, 139x139 cm, by Rameshwar Broota.)
These prices include fees.

I commented on Viadeo in French and on Artreview in English on a sale of Arabic Art organized on March 29 by the CMOOA in Casablanca. There is in particular a painting by the Iranian Farhad Moshiri (800 KDh), (SOLD 1.6 MDh including fees), another by Wafae Alahouch el Keriasti (45 KDh), (UNSOLD) , and four photos by Shadi Ghadirian (50 to 130 KDh). (all UNSOLD).

For the pleasure of taking in Tasmania, I would point Lot 25 from the sale of Mossgreen in Hobart to be held the day after tomorrow, March 18: This is a set of four oil on canvas, 45x58 cm, showing Chinese ports from Hong Kong to Canton. These works are a bit for the Orient like the Neapolitan gouaches are for the West. (30 K A $). (SOLD 206 KA?$ including fees ; the estimate had been upgraded to 50 KA$).

A painting by Reuven Rubin showing waving trees by the road will be sold by Christie's in Tel Aviv on April 27 ($ 250 K). A curiosity: having been stolen, it ended being owned by the American government when it was retrieved, because insurance companies had already paid the owner. This story is told by the Jerusalem Post. (SOLD 620 K$ including fees).

On April 16 in London, Sotheby's disperses a collection of miniature portraits including a pair by the master of the genre, John Smart (40 K£). (SOLD 48.5 K£ including fees).


The commode is not doing well, except, no doubt, the finest examples of Provence, and, hopefully, those of Louis XIV time. Therefore, in the latter style, we will watch with interest what will happen to that presented in the latest Gazette de l'Hotel Drouot (page 47): 60 K € estimated at Tajan on March 20. (lot not confirmed).


ERRATUM of date (March 9 column): LiveAuctioneers announced for MARCH 29-30 at Matheson's AA Auction in Melbourne, Florida, a pear-shaped bottle of early Ming period (14th century). Starting bid is $ 100 K, but it is expected much more. (SOLD 100 K$ before fees).


An original and sympathetic theme: posters of artists and galleries, by Delorme and Collin du Bocage on March 28 at Drouot. (no significant bid).


Photography is definitely in the spotlight at Christie's New York, with collections which I mentioned earlier (I add a portrait of Bardot by Avedon at 80$, (SOLD 181 K$ including fees) April 10) but also with lots " from various sellers", as they say here, including works by Penn (250 and 200 K$) (SOLD two photos 530 and 480 K$ including fees) and Mapplethorpe (100 K$), April 11. (SOLD one photo 265 K$ including fees).

At Tajan on April 9 at Drouot, a beautiful set of photographs by Edward S. Curtis (photoprints, lots 1 to 17, (SOLD maximum 5 K€) and vintage silver prints, lots 18 and 25 (SOLD maximum 3.7 K€)), all due in below 4 K€, and vintage prints on Che Guevara by Korda (lots 97 to 102) below 2 K €. (SOLD maximum 5.5 K€).
Results include fees.


Smythe, an old auction house of New York that specializes in currencies, has been bought by the leader of this market, Spink, based in London.